After much anticipation, the Nintendo Switch version of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim will be released later this week. Bethesda has managed to squeeze its fantasy RPG epic onto the new Nintendo console, allowing players to slay dragons and giants on the go.
Official footage of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim in Nintendo Switch handheld mode seemed to confirm that the huge RPG is no less impressive on the console. But this footage offered just a small example of Skyrim on the go.
Moreover, Bethesda promised that the Nintendo Switch version of its game would use motion controls. But has it made apt use of the technology, or is it just a back of the box gimmick?
Reviews of the game are now out in the wild, answering these questions and letting fans know how the Skyrim Switch port holds up.
USGamer (Mike Williams)
Presentation-wise, Skyrim on Switch looks a lot like the version that launched on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back in the day. In portable mode, it runs at a native 720p and it feels like the game holds onto a solid 30 fps, hitching only occasionally in the hottest of battles. In docked mode, performance stays the same, though pop-in becomes much more noticeable and the image quality is softer.
GameSpot (Kallie Plagge)
The main addition on Switch is Amiibo compatibility, which nets you extra treasure and works well within the existing game. Amiibo use is nested in the magic menu under powers, and you have to cast it the way you would any other power before tapping the Amiibo to the NFC reader. Like in Breath of the Wild, using an Amiibo isn’t a guarantee of good loot–in this case, Zelda Amiibo give you a chance to get Link’s Breath of the Wild tunic, the Master Sword, and the Hylian Shield, though you might get a chest filled with arrows, random weapons and armor, or an assortment of meats instead.
Heavy (Eli Becht)
Skyrim on the Nintendo Switch is joyous romp through the same world you’ve experience time and time again. It can be a tough sell if you already own the game on other platforms, notably the PC version or the Special Edition. If you’re coming from the Xbox 360 and PS3 version, this version is definitely worth it since it comes bundled with all the DLC and features some increased visuals and performance.
Game Informer (Javy Gwaltney)
Outside of textures and rough character models (we’re talking about a game from 2011), the world of Skyrim looks as stunning as ever. I noticed no fuzziness in either portable mode or on three different HD televisions of various sizes during my playtime. The draw distance is equally impressive; I could make out distant mountains, cities, and landmasses without any fog enshrouding them. A slight motion blur occurs when you’re turning, but I hardly noticed it all except in dark spaces like caverns.
WCCFTech (Dave Aubrey)
Skyrim for Nintendo Switch is a game that holds up marvelously; helped by the fact that I came across zero quest-breaking bugs this time around. Not one. There were some minor bugs I saw, I came across a lot of random dead bandits and animals, even a dead giant placed right outside the gates of Whiterun with what looked to be a shovel spawned at least 50 feet above him, just hanging in the air. Odd. But despite the few oddities, everything just works. None of the bugs got in the way of enjoying the game in the slightest.
IGN (Filip Miucin)
It still feels very much like Skyrim, and that’s what’s most important. Whether I was playing docked or undocked, Skyrim appeared to run at a relatively consistent 30 frames per second, with only a few minor dips when loading into new areas. Not a single thing about my entire time with Skyrim on Switch felt like a diminished experience. It shares the exact same atmosphere and feeling that many of us have grown to love—hilarious bugs included.
GamesRadar (Zoe Delahunty-Light)
By the nine divines, motion control is a revelation. Detaching the Joy Cons and docking the Switch into the TV lets me aim bows and spells as if I’m really there, sneaking through dungeons and running recklessly into bandit camps.
The reviews confirm that Skyrim on Nintendo Switch is exactly the same game that fans came to know and love when it first launched on PS3 and Xbox 360 – for better or for worse. The game looks just like those last-generation versions of the game, though the Nintendo Switch version benefits greatly from the use of motion controls and the ability to use amiibo.
However, some reviews were disappointed with a lack of mod support. The fact that this isn’t the enhanced of the game is also a bit of a letdown.
Both longstanding fans and Skyrim newcomers should be happy with what’s on offer here, though. Bethesda has made its game work (almost) perfectly on the new system and many will be eager to see what other games it can port to the Nintendo Switch too.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim will arrive on the Nintendo Switch on November 17th, 2017. It is also available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.